Temperature and Composition of Saturn's Polar Hot Spots and Hexagon

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Science  04 Jan 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5859, pp. 79-81
DOI: 10.1126/science.1149514

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Saturn's poles exhibit an unexpected symmetry in hot, cyclonic polar vortices, despite huge seasonal differences in solar flux. The cores of both vortices are depleted in phosphine gas, probably resulting from subsidence of air into the troposphere. The warm cores are present throughout the upper troposphere and stratosphere at both poles. The thermal structure associated with the marked hexagonal polar jet at 77°N has been observed for the first time. Both the warm cyclonic belt at 79°N and the cold anticyclonic zone at 75°N exhibit the hexagonal structure.

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